I decided to cook a lentil and chicken tray bake for our wedding anniversary dinner. I’d made it before and it was gorgeous. However this version was not the success that I had wanted it to be.

I soaked the lentils for about five hours before I used them. When the dish was finally cooked the lentil were quite crunchy and we felt that they were wildly and woefully uncooked, so much so that we scraped them back into the tray for later consumption. I put them back in the oven for a few hours and still they were far too crunchy for my taste. I gave up and put them in plastic container in the fridge. Later on in the week I ended up chopping in some sautéed mushrooms and recooking them on the gas cooker. Then, only then were they much softer and somehow exquisite!

Beluga lentils and mushrooms with mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes

There are still two full tubs of partially soaked Beluga lentils in my freezer. I’m not sure when I’m going to use them again – but I’m certain you’ll be the first to know when they do make an appearance. What I might look for is a recipe I can adapt to use in my instant pot.

Now, having done a little bit more reading about Beluga lentils, I understand that perhaps they are a little more al dente than I’m used to. They have a thicker skin which stays whole instead of breaking and turning into mush, therefore holding their shape and texture. Well you live and learn

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